I’ve always had sensitive skin. In high school and college, eating a chocolate bar would cause a breakout for a week. Now that I’m older my skin is uber sensitive to exfoliants and I’m beginning to wonder whether I have a touch of rosacea. All that to say, right now I need to get back to the basics in my skincare routine so this week I’m sharing surprisingly easy skincare routines for sensitive skin!
About two months ago I noticed my face getting redder and redder. I thought it was a reaction to a new skincare product I was using but instead of dialing it back, I plowed forward with MORE exfoliants and masks. Big mistake.
My Skincare Routines for Sensitive Skin
(This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure here. )
Only after my face started to BURN when I put products on it did I take a good look at my skincare routine. I was using an exfoliating face wash + chemical peel several times a week + exfoliating masks. Basically, I was burning my face off.
Here’s an awesome post on why so many of us are over-exfoliating and what to do about it!
And here’s the thing about over-exfoliation: it can take months to heal your skin again. Your best course of action is to scale back to the bare minimum in your skincare routine, rub a piece of ice on your face once a day, use aloe vera to speed up healing, and otherwise avoid ALL products that contain fragrance or alcohol. Those are big no-nos when it comes to sensitive skin.
These solutions apply to acne and rosacea-prone skin as well. All fall under the category of “sensitive skin” and often need less TLC, not more. Also, over-exfoliation can often cause acne and definitely make rosacea worse.
Two months out from cutting back in my skincare routine and my face is finally starting to look normal again. There is a touch of redness in my cheeks still which makes me wonder if my face needs more time to heal or I do have a touch of rosacea. I guess only time will tell.
In the meantime, here are my skincare routines for sensitive skin, which includes both a morning and night skincare routine.
Morning Skincare Routines for Sensitive Skin
1.) Use only water to splash on your face.
Ah! I know, this feels like it goes against everything we were taught. But if you’re skin is suffering you need to use less, not more on your face. If you feel you need more, you can use one of these microfiber cleaning cloths but GO EASY. Scrubbing too hard will exfoliate your skin, exasperating the problem.
2.) Spray a rose facial toner.
I am obsessed with Heritage Store Rose Petal Rosewater. Obsessed. Rose in itself can be so healing for our skin. I love this one because it only contains water, glycerin, and rose oil. Nothing else. Many rosewater products on the market contain alcohol and, as you probably guessed, alcohol is very drying on our skin.
As an added bonus, I use this spray on my hair and it makes it shiny! Other uses include makeup setting spray and a light body spritzer.
3.) A moisturizer with SPF
If you have sensitive skin the sun is your enemy. It’s best to avoid it at all costs but if that’s not possible make sure to use a daily SPF.
My favorite daytime moisturizer is the FRÉ Protect Me moisturizer. It’s an ultra-light, yet deeply nourishing moisturizing cream that absorbs quickly and won’t clog pores. It also contains an SPF of 30 so I’m good to go for the day. Use the code SARAHALT25 to get 25% off your first order. I stock up on this stuff when it goes on sale because it is my go-to cream.
Also, combining vitamin C products with sunscreen significantly helps reduce damage from free radicals (AKA the sun!). For this, I love the Ole Henriksen line of vitamin c products. But be careful, not all their products are rated clean. Sephora does a good job of breaking down which ones are rated clean and which aren’t. My favorite product is the banana eye cream!
Another option is to use The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension before your moisturizer.
Nighttime Skincare Routines for Sensitive Skin
My nighttime skincare routine is a little bit different. For instance, I do use a gentle facial cleanser and add in oils to really nourish and heal my skin at night.
1.) Use a gentle cleanser.
I’m becoming a huge fan of MOTHER DIRT face & body cleanser. Their motto is “clean skin without removing good bacteria” and that’s very important when you have sensitive skin. The last thing you want to do is strip your face of bacteria, or microbiome, that protects your skin. It’s the super gentle face cleanser your sensitive skin has been needing. It also works great on rosacea-prone skin!
2.) Spray the rose facial toner.
Again, I use the Heritage Store Rose Petal Rosewater. It’s the best – seriously! Spray. Spray. Spray.
3.) Pat on facial oil.
Right now, I’m obsessed with The Ordinary B-Oil. It contains a purified form of micro-algae to reduce redness, squalane to repair the moisture barrier, and a blend of marula, argan, Baobab, Pataua, Brazil Nut, Inca Inchi, Rosehip, and Borage oils – whew!)
I’ll just say this: it’s making my face look really glowy.
As I mentioned above but worth repeating, here are a few extra to help repair and protect sensitive skin.
- Do an ice facial once a day. It’s FREE – yay!
- Apply aloe vera juice on extra sensitive days. My favorite is Lily of the desert aloe vera juice.
- Always PAT on your face cleanser, moisturizer, oils, etc – never rub. Rubbing will make the problem worse. Gentle pats only, even with your towel when you dry off your face.
I hope this was helpful to you. Try these tips for a month and let me know if your skin is feeling/looking better!
What’s your favorite product or tip for sensitive skin? Also, here is my skincare routine specifically for 30-year-olds!